Man guilty of murdering woman kidnapped from Fore Street

Murder victim Therasia Gordon
Murder victim Therasia Gordon

Two other women were attacked on the same night

An Enfield man who attacked three women on the same night – killing one and raping and stabbing another – has been convicted of murder following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Brian Sengendo, aged 27 of Gilbert Street, Enfield Wash, was found guilty of multiple charges, including two counts of kidnap, one count of rape, and the murder of 44-year-old Therasia Gordon.

Therasia had been a sex worker in Edmonton at the time of the attacks in August 2020. She was kidnapped in a van driven by Sengendo in the early hours of the morning, with the alert being raised by a witness who heard someone scream for help. Police found a pool of blood at the scene, plus Therasia’s mobile phone. Two days later, her body was found by a cyclist in a secluded area near Crews Hill.

It later transpired that two other women had been kidnapped and attacked by Sengendo on the same night, but had managed to escape.

Speaking after Sengendo’s conviction, Therasia’s mother Jan said: “I am always thinking about what Therasia must have gone through when she died. Listening to the evidence in court has been heartbreaking.

“One of the things that keeps on going through my head, is the evidence that one of the witnesses could hear her groaning, I can’t get the thought of her being in pain at his hands out of my head.

“I can’t understand why this man made my family live through Theresia’s murder day after day, through a long and difficult crown court trial. He knew what he had done but continued to make my family suffer.

“As a family, we will never get over the fact that I have lost a daughter and they have lost their sibling. I will never come to terms with what this person [has] done to my child. He has left a big hole in my heart.”

During the trial the court had heard how, in the early hours of Thursday, 4th August 2020, police received a phone call from a resident of Grove Street, Angel Edmonton. He said he had heard a woman shouting “help” and looked out of his window to see a white van parked in the alleyway and a young black man striking at someone or something through the door of the vehicle.

Officers quickly attended the location and found a discarded grey shirt, as well as a large pool of blood and a mobile phone. A search of nearby gardens also led to the discovery of two bloodstained knives.

The phone was quickly examined by detectives who found that it belonged to Therasia Gordon. Enquiries were made as to her whereabouts, but she could not be found, and she was declared a high-risk missing person.

Killer Brian Sengendo (credit Met Police)
Killer Brian Sengendo (credit Met Police)

The witness had also been able to provide police with the van’s partial registration number. Using automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) technology, officers identified that the van had been cruising around the Enfield area that evening. Although there was no record of the current owner, a couple of weeks earlier it had been reported as abandoned in Gilbert Street, near Turkey Street Station.

On Thursday, 6th August, as work continued to trace Therasia and the suspect, police received a call from a cyclist who said he had found a woman’s body in Burnt Farm Ride, near the Enfield borough border with Hertfordshire. Officers attended and the woman, pronounced dead at the scene, was identified as Therasia Gordon.

Further enquiries led police to another woman who said she too had been kidnapped by a man just hours before Therasia had gone missing. She managed to escape by jumping out of the van but was able to tell officers that his name was Brian, as well as passing on a number he had given her. Crucially, this number led officers to Sengendo and showed that he had recently moved to Princes Avenue in Muswell Hill. Police attended the address and, in the early hours of Friday, 7th August, Sengendo was seen leaving a property and getting into a blue BMW. The car was immediately stopped and he was arrested.

The investigation found Sengendo had also threatened and attacked another woman earlier the same evening. She told police she had been picked up by a man in a white van from a petrol station near Fore Street. After she got into the vehicle, he held a knife to her throat and raped her. As she attempted to open the door to escape, Sengendo stabbed her seven times. A later medical examination found she had narrowly avoided being fatally injured.

Sengendo is due to be sentenced at on 18th March.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, who led the investigation, said: “Therasia’s murder has had a devastating impact on her family, not least her mum Jan. Not only has she had to cope with the pain of losing her daughter, but she has also had to relive the events of that night thanks to Sengendo’s refusal to take responsibility for his actions.

“We must not forget the other women who suffered at Sengendo’s hands. They too have spoken about the lasting effect that night has had on them. We commend their bravery in speaking to us and providing the evidence which was crucial to his conviction.”

Chief Superintendent Simon Crick, in charge of policing for Enfield and Haringey, added: “Therasia’s murder and the kidnap of two other women rightly caused significant concern with our community. Everyone has the right to feel safe on our streets, no matter who you are or what you do.

“Our priority remains addressing vulnerability and exploitation linked to sex work. We have a dedicated unit committed to safeguarding sex workers and diverting them to relevant charitable organisations so that they can get the support they need. We hope that by building up these relationships, these women feel confident to come forward and report any information or crimes.”